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ARC architects offer settlement

Janet Urquhart

The Denver architectural firm that designed the Aspen Recreation Center will pay the city $762,500, according to the terms of a lawsuit settlement. Durrant Architects Inc., which the city sued before the ARC even opened, offered the sum, according to John Worcester, city attorney. He has recommended the council accept the settlement through formal action Monday.”It’s a little less than we were hoping to get,” Worcester said.The city sued Durrant for more than $900,000 in March 2003, shortly before the ARC opened, claiming deficiencies in its design led to cost overruns in its construction.In fall 2004, the city closed the ARC for about two months while a contractor stripped, treated and repainted all of the metal surfaces in the swimming pool area. The city blamed faulty paint specifications in Durrant’s plans for rust “blooms” that first began appearing on the surfaces before the ARC had been open for a year.The council approved a $450,000 contract for the repainting job.Ed Sadler, assistant city manager and project manager, said he hoped to recoup all the cost of the paint job, plus half of the rest of the costs the city claimed in its lawsuit.”That’s what I was holding out for,” he said.A trial, previously postponed, was rescheduled to proceed in the fall. The budget to try the case was $343,000, according to the estimate prepared by the city’s outside attorneys in the case.”Plus, the litigation route – even if you win, it may be years before you recover [damages], with appeals and everything,” Worcester said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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